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"paranoid" comments about it to her, parlaying a couple of chance meetings into Talia's always wondering if he was going to be lurking about. In that way, he'd occupied a premiere space in her mind.

In the end it had worked out tragically ... but still, Zack couldn't help but feel that maybe there was some sort of kismet between security chiefs and telepaths, for here they were again, late night on a transport.

And, although he hated to admit it-even to himself-he felt something for her. He'd kept it neatly tucked away, but it was there. Even as he nodded to her and stepped into the transport, he knew he couldn't say anything to her about it.

Except... why not?

Because it was a transport, that's why not. The things he wanted to discuss with her... you didn't just bring those up on a transport between floors, on the fly with thirty, maybe forty-five seconds to say what's on your mind.

"Red twenty-five," he said, then stifled a yawn because he didn't want her to think that she was boring to him. "Lyta," he said conversationally as the doors slid closed. "Long day, huh. Seems like they just keep getting longer every day. You look like you've had one of those days yourself."

His mind told him, You sound like an idiot! You sound like you 're making conversation! Its painful and stilted and forced! Ask her out, you moron!

And while his mind was busy chewing him out, Zack didn't notice that Lyta's lips were moving silently, as if she were talking to herself... or to someone very, very far away.

"Believe me, I understand," Zack said. "One damned thing after another."

Thereafter followed an uncomfortable silence, and he realized that if he didn't say something soon, she'd be departing and that would be pretty much that until the next coincidental run-in
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